nen can get breast cancer too

Men and Breast Cancer

Men and breast cancer. That’s not a phrase you see often. But you should, because although breast cancer is most commonly thought of as a disease affecting women, it does occur in men as well. Many people mistakenly believe that because men don’t have “breasts” they don’t get breast cancer. Truth is that all people – male and female – have some breast cells and tissue. And, although less than one percent of all breast cancer cases develop in men, men do get breast cancer and they are much more likely to die from it than women.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Men’s Health Network (MHN) wants to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer on men – both as cancer patients and as caregivers to women suffering from breast cancer.

Male breast cancer, though rare, has a very high mortality rate, primarily because awareness among men is so low and they are unlikely to assume a lump is breast cancer. Early detection with breast cancer is critical, so any delay in seeking treatment often results in poor survival outcomes.

MHN wants to change that alarming fact and improve breast cancer survival statistics for women and men. Some reports have indicated that male breast cancer rates are increasing and understanding how this disease impacts men is vital to advancing men’s health in this area.

The first step in making these positive changes is awareness and knowledge. Making men – and women – aware of the issue will go a long way toward reducing mortality rates in men’s breast cancer. October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent time to shine a spotlight on this little known, little understood issue and MHN welcomes the opportunity to educate people about men’s breast cancer. For more information you can visit our Men’s Health Network website on breast cancer at

Another related issue is men as caregivers to women suffering from breast cancer. Given the fact that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, many men will find themselves in the caregiver role for a loved one afflicted by this disease. While there is no doubt the cancer patient is fighting the battle of her life, the caregivers – many of whom are husbands – also face their own difficult challenges.

In fact, little attention is paid to these men who provide intimate support for their loved ones. Male caregivers have unique challenges that may differ from their female caregiving counterparts. Gender-specific attitudes – keeping stress to themselves, not seeking help, and a single-focus on caregiving – may keep many men from the self-care necessary to provide such support.

Depression – not unusual among caregivers – is more likely to go untreated in men as they are less likely to seek the outside help essential to functioning in such a taxing role. And, physical health is also impacted as many men may neglect good nutrition and sleep hygiene practices so important to maintaining wellness during such stressful times.

In short, MHN believes October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent time to shine the spotlight on this terrible disease as it impacts – not only women – but men as well who face enormous stress as caregivers for their loved ones. Indeed, such awareness is critical to improving the health of everyone in this country which is a laudable – and achievable – goal.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Anne Holloway

View posts by Anne Holloway
Anne Holloway is an experienced government relations executive with a demonstrated history of working successfully in legislative and regulatory areas of the consumer goods industry. Anne is skilled in public affairs, grassroots organizing, event planning and government. She has exceptional writing and communication skills with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) focused on writing from Denison University. A former Vice President of Government Affairs with a trade association, Anne also worked as a Legislative Director for a Member of Congress. Creator of a food blog featuring a variety of culinary musings, Anne authored two books, View from a Train and Fear of Heights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top